Wednesday 21 August 2019

Judge urges HSE to reconsider case of woman in vegetative state


Stock photo
Stock photo

Tim Healy

A High Court judge has urged the HSE to reconsider its refusal to fund a specially designed package to provide future homecare for a woman in a vegetative state for more than 10 years.

The woman, in her 40s, is a ward of court and her family, as the committee representing her interests, want her to remain in her home under a care regime designed by her GP and a consultant. That involves two care assistants being present at all times and the parents, under GP guidance, assuming nursing duties such as administering medication.

The HSE argued that is clinically inappropriate and too expensive and wants her moved to a community nursing unit.

The case raises what Mr Justice Denis McDonald described as "very important" issues concerning whether the court can make orders compelling a State entity to allocate a specific amount of limited public resources to a ward of court. The judge said he will only decide those legal issues if the sides cannot reach a resolution. He adjourned the case to next term to allow for that.

The dispute over future care arose because a €2.5m settlement obtained by the woman in 2013 ran out last September and she has exceeded the life expectancy on which it was based.

Irish Independent

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